How Leader’s Beliefs Affect Culture


Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs. – Thomas Wolfe




“Believing the best in people usually brings the best OUT of people.” ~ John C Maxwell

If I would ask you to name one person that had a significant impact on you, I am sure you will instinctively think of someone who believed in you at a crucial point in your life. He or she reached out to you just as you were about to give up on your goal.

Most of us would do the same because as humans we continuously strive for success and need an environment conducive of growth.

So do your employees. People stopped working just for money long time ago. They work for a purpose nowadays and want  (intellectual) challenge, to make a difference and look beyond the short-term sales.

In order to create a healthy organizational culture, it is crucial you recognize and nurture your talents. We may not realize it, but we do get influenced by prejudice when promoting staff. Hence, why young people are struggling to get promoted and there is lack of diversity at the board and C-Suite level. Just because someone thinks that she would not be a good fit for the board we continue with the status quo and the “male, pale and stale approach.

You might have a Genius on your team!

It is essential to have an attitude of believing the best in others; although, understanding this concept can have its challenges.

The self-fulfilling prophecy refers to the idea that when someone creates a belief in something that is not yet true, and expects something with certainty, it will become true. With people, it suggests that as we communicate our expectations, they will conform and deliver the appropriate results.

When working with people, this is critical. When you express a lack of confidence in someone, it is returned with mediocrity; however, if you believe in them and expect them to do well, research has shown that they will live up to that expectation.

Positive quote from Maya Angelou "People will forget what you sa

What we expect, all too often, is exactly what we get.

The four key principles of the self-fulfilling prophecy:

  • We form certain expectations, or beliefs, of people or events based on our own perceptions and experiences.
  • We communicate those expectations through our behaviors in a way that we would not have done without the belief.
  • People generally respond by adjusting their behavior to match.
  • The result is that the original expectation becomes reality.


Based on these principles, we can conclude that the expectations leaders place on their team determines the quality of the teams’ output. A study of 100 self-made millionaires has shown that the most common characteristic in the group was the desire and ability to see the good in others. They were people builders, not critics. They empowered and supported their team to be their very best through positive means.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.

Small people always do that,

but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~ Mark Twain


Believing the best in people is a critical piece of building successful viable relationships.

You won’t have a successful team and a great culture until you believe in others so much that they start believing in themselves.

My challenge for you today is to ask yourself do I believe the best of others.

Then take it one step further and look for someone in your team whom you can empower to become the best she can be.

By the way, the best indicator of your corporate culture is your employee turnover rate. If that rate is high (average rate in Australia is around 13%) you may need to do some serious work on your culture.


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